Salted Caramel Sauce
November 18 2019
In case you don't know, I love caramel and I love salt. But, put them together and I swoon! So, when I was first introduced to salted caramel sauce years ago, I thought I had died and gone to heaven! What I didn't realize was how easy it is to make. Since that discovery, I always have salted caramel sauce in my fridge and my freezer. I use it to decorate cakes, pour it over ice cream (of course), drip it on brownies, dip cookies in it and spoon it right into my mouth!!! The ingredient list is short: sugar, butter, cream and salt. I choose to spend a little bit more and get top-quality butter and I really feel that it makes a difference. I use Kerrygold Irish Butter. It adds a richness to the sauce that is unsurpassed!
What's the process and why does it seem difficult? The only difficulty, in my opinion, is that you need to watch the sugar so that it doesn't burn. That means for about 15 minutes, you want to stick close to the cooktop. But, if by some mishap, you do burn the sugar, dump it and start again. There is no way to fix it and if you continue, your sauce will taste burnt (yuck).
The process is this: put the sugar in a small pot over medium-low to medium heat. Every 30 seconds or so, give it a stir with a wooden spoon. Within 4-5 minutes, it will start to get chunky(Photo 1), and after a few more minutes, it will all crystallize and begin to brown (Photo 2).
Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
Continue to stir every so often to continue to melt the sugar. Press the lumps against the side or bottom of the pot to break up (Photo 3). After about 8-10 minutes, all the sugar will be melted (Photo 4). Add the butter a little at a time, incorporating into the melted sugar before adding more (Photo 5). It will bubble vigorously so be careful (Photo 6)!
Photo 5 Photo 6 Photo 7 Photo 8
While stirring over low heat, whisk in the cream until incorporated (Photos 7 & 8).
That's it, gang! Now it's time to cool and then just enjoy the heck out of it!
Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes 1 1/4 cup
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 cup sugar
6 tbsps butter, room temperature
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp sea salt
In a heavy bottomed small sauce pan, heat the sugar on medium low heat until it’s completely melted. The sugar will start to form clumps before melting slowly. This will take approximately 5-7 minutes. I use a wooden spoon to stir the sugar often (not constantly, as the sugar needs to have contact with the bottom of the pan in order to melt). Once it begins to melt, chunks of crystallized sugar will remain. I help them along by breaking them up so they will melt quicker. Be patient and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn. This entire process could take 15-20 minutes.
Once melted, whisk in a few pieces of the butter. The mixture will violently bubble. You’re doing it right. The butter will initially separate from the sugar but by whisking it for a few seconds, it should come together. Continue until all of the butter is incorporated.
Next, pour in the heavy cream and sea salt. Stir until everything is combined. This is where you need to keep stirring until the clumps smooth out. Once smooth, simmer for one minute.
Pour into small bowl or cup and allow to cool completely before using.
Caramel can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 1 month or in the freezer for 3 months.
It is possible to double or triple this recipe but be aware that it will take quite a bit longer to melt the sugar. Ideally, make a single batch at a time.